Microsoft Open Sources the Original File Manager of the 90's

Microsoft is releasing the source code for its original Windows File Manager from almost 28 years ago. However, the debut of Windows Explorer in Windows 95 effectively meant the death of File Manager, until now.

Support for various versions of Windows 10 is ending today, as Microsoft promised in its most recent update in February.

Windows 10 version 1607 was released in August 2016, so it's received a full 20 months of support. "I welcome your thoughts, comments and suggestions", explained the author of the Github page. It's a fascinating look at how Windows software used to look and feel, and it's kind of wonderful that it runs at all.

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File Manager, for example, operated based on a multiple document interface (MDI) paradigm, where an application would treat each object, like a word document or, in this case, a folder, as a separate document that can be displayed in mini-windows inside the main application window.

Wittenberg copied File Manager from Windows NT 4.0 source in November 2007 and has made a "very limited set of modifications" to enable File Manager, also known as WinFile.exe, to run on Windows 10. "Some of the changes have limitations that fit the way I use the tool". He noted he hadn't redesigned or restructured WinFile in any major way. "You are welcome do that on your own". Explorer scatters windows liberally across our desktops-we're still waiting for the tabs to organize the clutter-but File Manager never had that problem.

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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